HONG KONG, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd , China's top property developer by sales, reported a record high six-month net profit as business in smaller cities continued to boom. Government curbs to rein in property prices in China have weighed on larger cities, with July showing the slowest growth in home prices since August 2016, although business in smaller centres have remained robust. Country Garden, which focuses on smaller cities, said its net profit rose 39.2 per cent from a year ago to 7.5 billion yuan over the six months to June, highest ever half-yearly earnings. The company also saw it core profit, which excludes revaluation gains, jump 35 per cent to 7.2 billion yuan. Its revenue for the period rose 35.5 per cent to 77.7 billion yuan and it said it expects further growth in the future given a number of pre-sold but unrecognised projects. Country Garden, which has an internal target to double sales this year to 600 billion yuan, posted 288.9 billion yuan sales for the first six months, more than double year-ago levels. This helped the company climb two notches to the top developer spot. It did not give details on how much sales came from its $100-billion mega development in Malaysia, Forest City, but said "the project has been well received by overseas enterprises and investors". The company has largely halted promoting the project to mainland buyers since earlier this year in response to Beijing's moves to stop capital flight into offshore investments. A Country Garden executive recently told Reuters the company would struggle to match 2016 home sales this year at Forest City, despite greater marketing outside the mainland. Forest City accounted for 6 per cent of the group's contracted sales last year. Among other Chinese developers, Guangzhou R&F Properties has reported a 22 per cent rise in its first-half core profit to 2.1 billion yuan, while Soho China saw a 565 per cent jump in net profit to 3.98 billion yuan due to higher valuation gains on investment properties.
Former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) assistant governor, Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid has alleged that former Malaysian finance minister Anwar Ibrahim was told the truth about forex losses made during a scandal in 1994, and commented that he could lose his job over it. Abdul Murad told The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Monday (Aug 21) that Anwar had asked him to join him on his flight to Hawaii "to provide an explanation on the forex losses, as instructed by then BNM Governor Tan Sri Jaffar Hussin," The Star reported. “After my explanation, Anwar also made a remark that if indeed the actual losses of the BNM forex (issue) were made public he, as finance minister, would have to step down,” he reportedly said in his testimony. When the scandal broke in the 1990s, the foreign exchange losses were estimated to be around RM9 billion. But in January this year, Abdul Murad claimed that it was closer to US$10 billion. Murad also testified that he had informed Tan Sri Jaffar Hussein on the matter in 1992 but was "scolded" as the then-governor did not believe him. “The governor did not believe me, scolded me and told me to discuss it with (Banking Department manager and advisor) Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop," he said. Yesterday, RCI also revealed that approximately RM31.5 billion in forex trades was lost between 1991 and 1994, New Straits Times reported. RCI chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, was quoted by NST as saying:“We have made the finding today that BNM lost RM31.5 billion, and the figure was hidden from the Bank Negara reports." "We have to find out who asked for it to be concealed,” he added.
Kuala Lumpur - A collision between a US warship and an oil tanker near the Straits of Malacca on Monday has shone a light on a territorial dispute that has simmered between neighbours Singapore and Malaysia for nearly 40 years. The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with merchant vessel Alnic MC to the east of Singapore, while heading to the city-state for a routine port call. Ten US sailors are missing and five were injured in the collision, which resulted in significant damage to the hull of the US vessel and the flooding of some of its compartments. Singapore and Malaysia both said the incident took place in their territorial waters, as the warship and oil tanker collided near the rocky outcrop of Pedra Branca, an area that has long been contested by both countries. Both countries said they were leading the search and rescue operation for the missing sailors. Singapore was once part of Malaysia but they separated acrimoniously in 1965, clouding diplomatic and economic dealings for years. The International Court of Justice ruled in 2008 that Pedra Branca, which means "white rock" in Portuguese, belonged to Singapore and a nearby feature called Middle Rocks belonged to Malaysia. Malaysia sought a review of the ruling this year, reopening the dispute. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said it was notified just before dawn of the collision in "Singapore territorial waters" in the Singapore Strait, and Singapore was leading the search and rescue operations. Malaysia insisted that the incident happened in its waters, just miles off its southern state of Johor. Malaysia's navy chief, Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, told Reuters the KD Handalan was the first to respond to the distress call from the US ship. "KD Handalan was just three miles from the USS McCain when it first received the distress call," he said. Malaysia's Maritime Enforcement Agency Director General Zulkifili Abu Bakar told reporters Malaysia disputed Singapore's assertion that the accident happened in its waters. He said the Malaysian search and rescue operation was independent of Singapore's and Malaysia had not communicated with its neighbour about the incident. "What is important is, we do not want to have another collision between assets on the ground," Zulkifili said. "For the time being, we shouldn't be arguing about whose waters it is, the most important thing is to focus on search and rescue." The Malaysian navy assigned four vessels and a Super Lynx helicopter for the search and rescue, while the Malaysian armed forces and maritime authorities also deployed more assets. The Indonesian navy said it had deployed two warships. The US Navy said Singapore and US assets were involved in search and rescue. It said in a statement late on Monday that Malaysian navy vessels and a helicopter had joined the search in the afternoon and Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, thanked Malaysia for its "great support".
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Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta - Malaysia has apologised to Indonesia over the upside down printing of the Indonesian flag in a souvenir guidebook handed out at the opening of the Southeast Asian Games. The mistake, spotted at the opening of the games in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday sparked an outcry in Indonesia and the hashtag #ShameonyouMalaysia was trending on social media. Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, the incident concerned "national pride", and had called for an apology. Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi also expressed dismay, posting pictures of the mistake on his Twitter account. "It was a good opening ceremony but spoiled by this fatal negligence that was very painful," he said. His Malaysian counterpart, Khairy Jamaluddin, tweeted an apology. "There was no malice intended," Khairy said. Khairy was expected to meet Indonesia's delegation to formally apologise on Sunday. Indonesia's flag has two horizontal bands with red on the top and white underneath. Turning it upside down, makes it look like Poland's flag. The Malaysian Organising Committee also apologised saying it had been "an inadvertent error". The flag blunder was the latest in a series of embarrassing incidents at the regional sports meet. Last week, a bus driver ferrying the Myanmar women's football team was arrested on suspicion of stealing a watch and for not possessing a driver's license.